Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Harmsworth, Desmond
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Desmond Harmsworth Family Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
9 boxes and 4.3 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 1-9


Consists of selected papers of Desmond Harmsworth (1903-1990) and other members of the Harmsworth Family, including manuscripts, correspondence, and legal and business documents between Desmond Harmsworth Limited and The Nonesuch Press.

Collection Description & Creator Information


Consists of selected papers (1917-1988) of Desmond Harmsworth and other members of the Harmsworth family, Desmond and Dorothy Harmsworth correspondence (1938-1987) with Stuart and Moune Gilbert, Sylvia Beach, and others, and legal material (1928-1937) regarding Harmsworth's publishing business and the Nonesuch Press and Francis Meynell.

Collection Creator Biography:

Harmsworth, Desmond

Desmond Harmsworth (1903-1990), born Cecil Desmond Bernard Harmsworth, was a publisher, poet and artist, and the son of politician Cecil Harmsworth and Emilie Alberta Maffett, and the nephew of the press barons Lord Northcliffe, Alfred Harmsworth, and Lord Rothermere, Harold Harmsworth. Desmond Harmsworth succeeded to the title of 2nd Baron Harmsworth, of Egham, Surrey, upon the death of his father in 1948. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, Harmsworth married Dorothy Alexander Heinlein in 1926. Their only child, Margaret, was born in 1928, and is a painter and sculptor. Harmsworth started in the family newspaper business, attended art school at the famed Académie Julian in Paris, and published literary editions under the self-named private press of Desmond Harmsworth Limited. He may be best known for the 1932 limited edition of James Joyce's Pomes Penyeach, illustrated by Joyce's daughter Lucia, which Harmsworth co-published with the Obelisk Press of Paris following Sylvia Beach's first edition of Joyce's poems in 1927. Desmond and Dorothy Harmsworth knew Sylvia Beach (1887-1962) who, in turn, knew Stuart Gilbert (1883-1969), the British author, editor and translator who moved to Paris in 1925 following his retirement as a judge on the Court of Assizes in Burma. Beach became acquainted with Stuart Gilbert through his interest in a French translation of Joyce's Ulysses, and she introduced him to Joyce. Both Gilbert and his French-born wife, Moune (born Marie Agnès Mathilde Douin), also shared a lifelong friendship with Desmond and Dorothy Harmsworth, which is reflected in the correspondence among the four of them in this collection.

Collection History


Purchased from Bloomsbury Sale in December 2008 (AM2009-71).

Archival Appraisal Information:

No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Sylvia Yu in May 2009. Finding aid written by Sylvia Yu in May 2009.

Collection title updated by Faith Charlton in 2021.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Other Finding Aids:

A finding aid is available.

Credit this material:

Desmond Harmsworth Family Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184